Watson has partnered advocacy organization Open Cages to promote its Ban Factory Farms campaigns, which says experts warn that a ‘catastrophic pandemic could follow after COVID-19 if current intensive farming practices are not addressed’.
Watson has joined leading plant-based doctor Dr. Michael Greger in supporting the campaign.
Many experts – including doctors – have spoken out about the inherent risks within global food systems when it comes to future pandemic risk.
The coronavirus is widely believed to have originated from a wet market in Wuhan, China, towards the end of 2019. This has led many to put the focus on closing these markets, saying their cramped, unsanitary conditions make them perfect breeding grounds for disease.
But Open Cages (among other advocates including doctors) say there is ‘serious concern that future outbreaks of infectious disease could happen even in the UK’, adding that 70 percent of all farmed animals in the UK are reared in factory farms which ‘operate under similarly dangerous conditions to wet markets’ and therefore pose major health risks.
‘A danger to public health’
“For years I’ve been against factory farming – the cruel industry that causes suffering in millions of animals every year,” Watson said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.
“And now, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that keeping so many animals in dirty, cramped conditions isn’t just inhumane – it is a danger to public health.
“That’s why I’m joining Open Cages in calling on the UK government to phase out factory farming, for the safety of people and animals.”
‘Building a better future’
Connor Jackson, CEO of Open Cages, added: “Animals are not machines, and yet that’s how we treat them. The British public is beginning to see that the animals we consume live in filthy, overcrowded factories where life is not worth living.
“And to top it all off, factory farms are no good for humanity at all. Let’s be world leaders and have the courage to work together after COVID-19. Let’s build a better future for all and ban factory farms.”